Post #22: Field Trip to the DMZ

April 29, 2009

A response to the PBS documentary Field Trip to the DMZ .

Korea

Korea

Although North Korea is a country just north of South Korea, not much is known about the North. Previously, I had learned about the north through Korean films and dramas like “Crossing” and “Cain and Abel.” Because this was so, North Korean defectors only seemed like imaginary people to me. I did not believe that it was possible for North Koreans to escape their country because the process of leaving the country depicted in those films and shows seemed too dangerous and burdensome to be possible. However, through this documentary all seemed possible and real. 

 

I used to believe that all North Koreans were evil looking for ways to end the world, despite the fact that the adults around me told me that the citizens did not have anything to do with the trouble North Korea caused. When I watched this documentary, the stereotypical images I previously had went away. As I got to know more about the North Koreans just as humans and not part of a large country developing nuclear weapons, I was able to feel sympathy for the people. In the documentary, North Korea came across to me like a world like one depicted in 1984 in which the citizens were made to think in certain ways and believe in certain things. The way in which the students at the school were not familiar with computers and the Internet seemed to be a result of the North Korean government’s attempts to keep the North Koreans detached from the world.

Post #21: Visual Examples of Modernism

April 3, 2009
Spiral Jetty

"Spiral Jetty"by Robert Smithson- A monumental earthwork located on the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

 

No.5 by Jackson Pollock

"No.5" by Jackson Pollock

 

Whos Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue? by Barnett Newman

"Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue?" by Barnett Newman

 

Glass Palace

"Glass Palace"

Archetypes and Stereotypes Project

March 9, 2009

The blog assignment can be found on Eddie’s Blog.

Post #20: The NYT on Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses

February 8, 2009

A response to “The Man Who Understood Horses” by Madison Smartt Bell.

CORMAC MCCARTHY has practiced the Joycean virtues of silence, exile and cunning more faithfully than any other contemporary author; until very recently, he shunned publicity so effectively that he wasn’t even famous for it. By his single-minded commitment to his work and his apparent indifference to the rewards and aggrandizements quite openly pursued by the rest of us, he puts most other American writers to shame. The work itself repays the tight focus of his attention with its finely wrought craftsmanship and its ferocious energy.

The magnetic attraction of Mr. McCarthy’s fiction comes first from the extraordinary quality of his prose; difficult as it may sometimes be, it is also overwhelmingly seductive. Powered by long, tumbling many-stranded sentences, his descriptive style is elaborate and elevated, but also used effectively to frame realistic dialogue, for which his ear is deadly accurate. This mixture builds on Faulkner’s work, yet, more than Faulkner ever did, Mr. McCarthy seems to be pulling the language apart at its roots. He’s noted for ar chaisms so unfamiliar they appear to be neologisms. His diction and phrasing come from all over the evolutionary history of English and combine into a prose that seems to invent itself as it unfolds, resembling Elizabethan language in its flux of remarkable possibilities.

All these qualities make “Suttree” (1979) and “Blood Meridian” (1985), the two long novels that precede his latest book, more than a little challenging to the uninitiated, and the world of violence that these and his earlier, shorter novels so brilliantly depict can seem, on casual inspection, to be senseless. “All the Pretty Horses,” the comparatively brief first volume of a planned trilogy, is probably the most accessible of Mr. McCarthy’s six novels, though it certainly preserves all his stylistic strength. Although its subject and approach are superficially more palatable, the essence of his unusual vision also persists.

Where “Suttree” and “Blood Meridian” are deliberately discontinuous, apparently random in the arrangement of their episodes, “All the Pretty Horses” is quite conventionally plotted. Another distinction from Mr. McCarthy’s earlier work is the presence of a plainly sympathetic protagonist, John Grady Cole, a youth of 16 who, in the spring of 1950, is evicted from the Texas ranch where he grew up. He and another boy, Lacey Rawlins, head for Mexico on horseback, riding south until they finally turn up at a vast ranch in mountainous Coahuila, the Hacienda de la Purisima, where they sign on as vaqueros. There, in magnificent scenes that make Faulkner’s story “Spotted Horses” seem almost forgettable, John Grady’s unusual talent for breaking, training and understanding horses becomes crucial to the hacendado Don Hector’s ambitious breeding program.

For John Grady, La Purisima is a paradise, complete with its Eve, Don Hector’s daughter, Alejandra. Their relationship is Mr. McCarthy’s first excursion into romance since his 1973 novel, “Child of God,” in which all the female lovers are dead. Infinitely more sympathetically rendered, John Grady’s affair with Alejandra ends badly nonetheless. When Don Hector and his aunt, the formidable Duena Alfonsa, discover it, they arrange for John Grady and Rawlins to be arrested for acts of murder and horse theft actually committed by another American runaway they met on the trail. The rest of their journey brings them closer and closer, though not fatally near, to the vortex of violent anarchy that swirls up toward the surface of all of Mr. McCarthy’s writing.

In the hands of some other writer, this material might make for a combination of “Lonesome Dove” and “Huckleberry Finn,” but Mr. McCarthy’s vision is deeper than Larry McMurtry’s and, in its own way, darker than Mark Twain’s. Along with the manifold felicities of his writing goes a serious concern with the nature of God (if God exists) and, almost obsessively, the nature of something most readers have assumed to be evil. The decay of Western civilization throws a long shadow over all his work. “We’re like the Comanches was two hundred years ago,” John Grady’s father remarks. “We dont know what’s goin to show up here come daylight. We dont even know what color they’ll be.”

The novel opens and closes with eerie images of American Indians that suggest our civilization may be swallowed up as completely as theirs. For John Grady, meanwhile, the issue is the using up of the country; he heads for Mexico because too much of Texas has been fenced in or foreclosed on. Mr. McCarthy’s descriptions of the landscape are breathtakingly beautiful, but anyone who thinks he is sentimental about nature need only read “Blood Meridian” for a permanent cure.

Cormac McCarthy must be acknowledged as a talent equal to William Faulkner, but whatever he may owe to Faulkner’s style, his substance could not be more different. Faulkner’s work is all about human history and all takes place in mental spaces, while in Mr. McCarthy’s work human thought and activity seem almost completely inconsequential when projected upon the vast alien landscapes where they occur. Human behavior may achieve its own integrity — it’s John Grady’s conscientious striving for this quality that makes him Mr. McCarthy’s most appealing character — but it generally seems to have little effect. It’s unusual for a writer to adopt such a disinterested posture toward human beings, but Mr. McCarthy, like John Grady, seems to hold a higher opinion of horses:

“In his sleep he could hear the horses stepping among the rocks and he could hear them drink from the shallow pools in the dark where the rocks lay smooth and rectilinear as the stones of ancient ruins and the water from their muzzles dripped and rang like water dripping in a well and in his sleep he dreamt of horses and the horses in his dream moved gravely among the tilted stones like horses come upon an antique site where some ordering of the world had failed and if anything had been written on the stones the weathers had taken it away again and the horses were wary and moved with great circumspection carrying in their blood as they did the recollection of this and other places where horses once had been and would be again. Finally what he saw in his dream was that the order in the horse’s heart was more durable for it was written in a place where no rain could erase it.”

What order there may be in the world is not, Mr. McCarthy suggests, of our devising and is very likely beyond our comprehension. His project is unlike that of any other writer: to make artifacts composed of human language but detached from a human reference point. That sense of evil that seems to suffuse his novels is illusory; it comes from our discomfort in the presence of a system that is not scaled to ourselves, within which our civilizations may be as ephemeral as flowers. The deity that presides over Mr. McCarthy’s world has not modeled itself on humanity; its voice most resembles the one that addressed Job out of the whirlwind.

As for himself, Mr. McCarthy has told a French journalist that the fact that he writes is incidental to his life, that he spends his time with equal profit gazing at the toes of his shoes. What for another writer would be a silly pose is for Mr. McCarthy the natural consequence of his view of the world and the people in it. It is an uncomfortable vision, but one that has a strange power to displace all others.

Madison Smartt Bell’s most recent book is the novel “Doctor Sleep.”

What authors or genres of writing are cited as influencing McCarthy’s writing style? 


     McCarthy’s “elaborate and elevated descriptive style” builds on to William Faulkner’s style. McCarthy uses “overwhelmingly seductive” writing “powered by long, tumbling many-stranded sentences” influenced by Faulkner.  


How does McCarthy treat human characters in his story as opposed to landscape and animals like horses?


     McCarthy seems to be detached to the human characters in his story, showing more interest toward landscape and animals like horses. McCarthy does a breathtaking job at describing landscape and animals opposed to human characters in his story.

 
What type of dialogue does the article state McCarthy uses? 


     McCarthy uses realistic dialogue which is “powered by long, tumbling many-stranded sentences.”


What is notable about his diction (word choice)?


     McCarthy’s diction is not only limited to a certain time period, but “from all over the evolutionary history of English.” The way in which the language “invents itself as it unfolds resembles the Elizabethan language in its flux in remarkable possibilities.”

 


Post #19: Response to “Growing Up Online”

January 13, 2009

#1 In what ways would you need to change your routine in order to disconnect yourself from all media (i.e. no TV, no Internet, etc.) What problems would you encounter if you unplugged for one day? One week? One month?

In order to disconnect myself from all media (i.e. no TV, no Internet, etc.), I would spend more time outside then at home or find a new hobby that is not related to the media because the only reason why I watch TV and use the Internet is because I get bored. Not only this, but I would read the newspaper and magazines more frequently so that I could get updated with current events while refraining from surfing the web. I would also have to make more phone calls so that I can make up for the instant messages and emails I used to send. 

I would not encounter many problems if I unplugged for a day or a week, but problems would occur if I unplug for a month. I would not be able to communicate with the school, colleges and friends through emails, I would have to handwrite my college applications, I would not be able to do homework like writing blogs and researching, I would have to use my phone much more than I already do, I would have trouble participating in group projects by not being able to instant message my friends, and so on. Unplugging is problematic. 

#2 How many hours per week do you estimate you spend on Facebook or similar personal networking sites? What are the benefits and disadvantages of using these sites?

I do not spend many hours per week on Facebook or similar personal networking sites. The most time I spend on these sites is about 30 minutes per week. I use networking sites like Facebook because these sites allow me to stay connected with friends that I don’t see everyday, kill time and entertain myself by playing games, socialize with friends, and meet new people from all over the world. The disadvantages of these sites are that they help me waste time and they publicize my life among my friends.

#3 To what extent are you aware of viral marketing, the use of “advertorials” (presenting advertisements as editorial content), or direct marketing on Facebook and other social networking sites?

I am not aware of viral marketing because I do not use social networking sites often. The most I do is play games and message my friends. I do not read advertisements or anything else on those sites. But I know how to distinguish advertorials from advertisements. 

#4 Personal response based on your individual viewing of “Growing Up Online”.

Although I am not an enthusiastic user of social networking sites, through “Growing Up Online,” I have realized the impact the media has on the lives of today’s teenagers. It was surprising that the Internet could control a teenager’s life, publicize his or her lives, and allow somebody to be another person and whatnot. “Growing Up Online” told me that the Internet could be a dangerous place. Although commonly used for research or communication, “Growing Up Online” showed the possible dangers of the Internet and especially social networking sites. 

“Growing Up Online” also showed how parents and teachers were working to stop the harmful things occurring on the web, but I believe that the things that occur online to today’s teenagers cannot be stopped like how crimes cannot be stopped. I think the Internet is just another world like the one we are living in that includes both violence and peace despite the fact that teenagers act differently online. I believe that the boy who committed suicide would have committed suicide even though he did not read about it online and that the black girls at the high school would have fought even though the fight did not start online. 

At our school, from what I know, the media does not affect students as much as it affects students in the states. My friends do not pick fights, talk to strangers, or read about suicide online. “Growing Up Online” showed me another side of the media that had not pertained to me. I think “Growing Up Online” was more focused on white and black teens who attend public schools in the U.S.

Post #18: Hagwon in U.S. cash in and U.S. teens cheat

December 7, 2008

According to “Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean undergrads” it is evident that many Korean students are having trouble adapting to the western education system due to pressure, poor English skills, and poor logical thinking skills. Out of these three reasons, I believe that poor English skills and poor logical thinking skills are the main reasons that cause Korean students to have trouble studying at universities in the United States. Korean students studying in Korea are all subjected to tremendous amounts of pressure from parents, so it is unlikely that pressure is a reason why Korean students drop out. However, from my experience, it is likely that Korean students suffer due to poor English skills and poor logical thinking skills. With the help of hagwons, Korean students are capable of getting into colleges of their choice because they can study for the SATs using pure memorization skills and write their college essays with the help of others. However, these students do not actually have the English and logical reasoning skills that American students have. Because this is so, when colleges require English and critical thinking skills from students, the only way for students to succeed is to turn back to the Korean way of education which is to go to hagwons. If the students still have trouble, they will eventually plagiarize or drop out.  I am not trying to say that there is anything wrong with the Korean way of education, but if students who are too Koreanized and too dependent on hagwons and plagiarism decide to study in the United States, they will be able to get into a top tier college but will have trouble adapting to the western education system. Because of these differences in the western and eastern way of education, it is inevitable that Korean students studying in the United States will drop out. This can be prevented in many ways. Western schools can be stricter about testing critical thinking and English skills before admitting students while Korean students who wish to study in the abroad could attempt to westernize their study habits before they get to the United States. 

The article, “Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean undergrads,” states that plagiarism is a result of cultural differences: 

“’Many Korean students still write cut-and-paste essays, which is considered to be plagiarism here in the U.S.,’ said Dr. Kim.

Used to more lenient Korean standards when it comes to copying the work of others, many Korean students find it hard to get used to strict Western academic standards, under which copying just a few sentences without identifying the source is considered plagiarism. It was reported a few years ago that four Korean students at a U.S. university were kicked out of their school after copying each other’s papers.”

In spite of this, acts such as cheating, lying, and stealing cannot only be blamed on cultural differences according to the article “American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study.” The article states that teenagers in America also lie, steal, and cheat. These students, unlike Korean students, do not have poor English or critical thinking skills, but they still end up cheating. This shows that for whatever reason, teenagers from different backgrounds may end up cheating. Because this is so, I believe that it is wrong to blame a specific group for cheating or depending on other sources for information.  

According to “American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study” it is evident that different groups of teenagers lie, steal, or cheat more frequently than others. However, the main problem in today’s society is not that certain races or genders are cheating more than others, but that more and more teenagers are cheating. There is a possibility that more and more teenagers are being open about cheating, lying and stealing or that more and more journalists are publicizing these events more often. Nevertheless, if it is true that stealing, cheating, and lying rates are rising, both parents and teachers should take action to prevent dishonesty. Being caught cheating, stealing, or lying in the future will bring about greater consequences, therefore at a young age, students should be taught not to do so. 

This issue is not only limited to teenagers but also to adults. Today, many politicians and businessmen are being caught committing dishonest acts. The world in general should be informed and should start working to eliminate dishonesty.

Post #17: Response to: Young & Restless in China

November 30, 2008

In Young & Restless in China, FRONTLINE presents the lives of nine young Chinese over the course of four years.  

Responses to discussion questions:

1. Why do you think Miranda Hong describes her generation of Chinese as “confused”?

 

Miranda Hong

Miranda Hong

Miranda Hong describes her generation of Chinese as “confused” due to the changes that are taking place in China. The new generation is confused amid the changes that are happening to both China itself and the younger generation. In the beginning of the film, Miranda Hong states that the economy has changed drastically and that the ration tickets that were used in the 1990s to buy food were no longer used.  Not only this, but Ben Wu states that the company he works at is doubling its size in half a year and the new building is going up one floor per week. This shows how drastic changes are taking place economically in China. Things are not only changing economically for the new generation of Chinese but they are also changing religiously and socially. Ben Wu believes that China has changed religiously, stating that people no longer believe in Moism and helping others and, instead, believe in getting rich as fast as they can and being happy. It is evident that the younger generation is changing socially too. Women, like Miranda Hong and Zhang Jingjing, are becoming more active and are no longer following the tradition of housewives.  Not only this, but the new and younger generation of Chinese like Ben Wu and Lu Dong who have studied abroad feel that the bribery and corruption present in both the government and business is unacceptable and want to take a different path when doing business. In China today, changes seem to be occurring in all aspects of the lives of the younger generation of the Chinese, causing confusion. The new generation is in a state of confusion in which they are having trouble choosing between traditional and modern ways. 

 

5. Why do you think that several of the profiled characters have turned to religion or spiritual outlets?

 

Lu Dong

Lu Dong

Several of the profiled characters have turned to religion or spiritual outlets, including Lu Dong.   Surrounded by work and the confusion brought about by the changes taking place in society, the younger generation seems to have turned to religion for various reasons. Money is all that counts to them. As Lu Dong puts it the Chinese believe in “getting rich as fast as they can and having good lives.” However, as the businesses start to settle down a little, it seems like nothing is left of the characters when they have achieved their single goal of making money. When Lu Dong finds time to spare, he realizes how lonely he is and states that “after being baptized I [he] no longer feel[s] lonely.” This shows that he has turned to religion “to search for the meaning of life and universal truths,” to find the meaning of life beyond making money. Not only this, but I think characters like Lu Dong have turned to religion as a result of the confusion that was brought about by the changes that were taking place in society. He states that “values have changed greatly in China” and he was no longer able to find something he truly valued. Through religion, though, I believe that he was able to find the answers he was searching for. Last but not least, I believe the characters have turned to religion for protection from corrubtion. When Lu Dong deals with the bribery and corruption, he states that christianity seems to serve as a filter between the world and himself which will protect him. In general, I think that several of the profiled characters have turned to religion to find the meaning of life beyond making money and to seek protection from confusion and corruption present in the Chinese society.  

 

8. Who do you think is the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary and why?

 

Wang Xiaolei

Wang Xiaolei

Of the nine young people profiled in this documentary, I think that the happiest is Wang Xiaolei, the rapper. Although in the beginning he complains about poverty, his house, and his parents, over the years and through hip hop, I believe that Xiaolei becomes the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary. In the beginning, Xiaolei started off as a young man whose life was full of problems; he did not like the way he was discriminated based on money and how girls only believed in money and not anything else. Through hip hop, however, he learned that although he does not live a good life he should be optimistic. Over the years, as his music gets more popular and his dream to become a star on stage comes true, he becomes more optimistic. In the end, his dreams grow and he dreams to become the head of a record company, believing that his dreams will come true if he works hard. He is the only character in this documentary who works for the next day, without struggling from any other conflicts or problems; he does not have parents or a family who he needs to support, he does not struggle in a relationship, and he does not seem to have any problems with the world. He also is the only character who has adapted to and is not affected by the changes taking place in Chinese society. Not only this, but his definition of happiness is different from the others’ definition of happiness. He believes that happiness is equal to music and not money. He knows what he truly wants and what will make him happy. For these reasons, I believe Wang Xiaolei is the happiest of the young people profiled in this documentary–he does what makes him happy.

Post #16: The Warrior Tradition

November 3, 2008

1. What are some elements of the “warrior tradition”?

As part of the warrior traditions, there are objects with inherent power like the Green Destiny in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the three small daggers in The House of Flying Daggers. These objects, although not expensive or fancy, seem to have power, giving the women fighters in the movie power—it is hard for anyone to beat the Invincible Sword Goddess when she fights with the Green Destiny. Not only this, but the characters seem to fight with a force within, an internal force—the chi. Some of the characters especially in Crouching Dragon and characters like Bruce Lee in martial arts films fight after building up their internal strength using pauses or loud sounds and also leave time periods between their moves. Last but not least, the warrior tradition only involves fighting with swords, hands or other metallic fighting objects—no advanced technology like guns are used in the fights.

2. How is the natural world depicted in relation to martial arts?

The natural world changes with the mood of the scenes in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, when characters fight and steal things or out of true hatred, the natural world turns dark and gloomy. For example, when the Invincible Sword Goddess steals the Green Destiny, the surrounding atmosphere and sky turns dark and gloomy like when Jade Fox kills Wudan in the fight. On the other hand; however, the natural world turns more peaceful, quite and calm when the scenes depict peaceful fighting and love. When Li Mu Bai confesses his love to the old woman warrior who keeps peace, the two are surrounded by a peaceful bamboo forest. Not only this time, but when the Invincible Sword Goddess falls in love with the Mongolian tribesman, the natural world is calm and peaceful. Also, when Li Mu Bai fights the Invincible Sword Goddess, the characters are once again surrounded by a peaceful forest because their true intentions are not to hurt each other. In The House of Flying Daggers the natural world is not depicted much except for when the girl and the police man run away to the bamboo forest together. At first when things are peaceful and no one comes after them, the forest is depicted to be peaceful and the wind blows softly. Even when the fighting starts, the forest stays calm and quiet despite the sudden changes in camera angles to show how vulnerable the blind woman is to outside attack. Only in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon the depiction of the natural world is related to the depiction of martial arts.

 3. How are gender roles important to the scenes we watched?

Jade Fox Fighting Scene (Dark Background)

Jade Fox Fighting Scene (Dark Background

 Although there are a relatively equal number of female and male fighters, discrimination against females in the two movies we watched is evident. In the fighting scene between Jade Fox and Li Mu Bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jade Fox’s reason for poisoning her old master and attacking his followers like Wudan and Li Mu Bai, is because she was discriminated against in the process of learning martial arts. As Jade Fox said, her master never taught her anything because she was a woman and instead she was used by him. This shows how women are inferior to men and how they are discriminated against. Not only this, but in the same movie, the Invincible Sword Goddess seems to go around dressed as a man. I think this is so because she believes that it is unacceptable to be a warrior as a woman. By dressing as a man and hiding her female characteristics, the Invincible Sword Goddess conveys the message that woman fighters are not accepted by society. This theme of women dressing up as men to fight in war is common. In the Disney movie “Mulan,” the main character disguises as a man to fight in war like how Fa Mu Lan’s voice in Kingston’s The Woman Warrior does. In the Woman Warrior Kingston states, “I put on my men’s clothes and armor and tied my hair back in a man’s fashion.” Fa Mu Lan probably did so in an attempt to be treated and respected equally as the men fighting in war (men were respected). Last but not least, when the Mongolian tribe leader takes the Invincible Sword Goddess’s comb, he tells all the other men that she is his. This shows how men consider women as property and have power over them. In The House of Flying Daggers women are inferior to men. Men, like the policeman, have power and authority and can pay for girls. The police man goes to the whore house and enjoys himself there with a bunch of girls surrounding him. When he throws two pieces of silver on the ground, asking for the new blind girl to come, the head woman at the whore house bows down and picks the silver up and obeys him. This shows how the men have more power in society. Even when the blind girl comes out, the man orders her to do things and takes her clothes off while she stands still. From these scenes it is evident that men have more power than women.  Although the characters seem to be living in a male dominated society and the men are a bit stronger in fighting than women, it seems as if they have similar skill levels in martial arts—the Invincible Sword Goddess and Jade Fox seem to be able to fight men and the blind woman seems to be able to fight the police man.

 4. What else caught your eye or is worth noting?

Mulan disguised as a man
Mulan disguised as a man

 The way in which the woman fighters in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fight is interesting. Jade Fox, the old peace keeping fighter, and the invincible sword goddess all fight with relatively small weapons that are kept in their hair or clothing. Because they do not have much power, I believe the female characters fight slyly with weapons hidden in their clothing, like the knife hidden in Jade Fox’s shoe. It is shown that female characters have trouble fighting with heavy weapons when the old peace keeping fighter fights with the Invincible Sword Goddess at the place where martial arts fighters train. In addition to this, it is surprising how the Invincible Sword Goddess, with all that power, still is controlled by her parents in marriage. Although she has ran away from her parents, it is surprising how she couldn’t fight against her parents’ will when she could steal the Green Destiny, fight all the men at the two-floor restaurant and so on. It shows that martial arts is a totally different world for these characters.

Post #15: Response to “The Woman Warrior at 30″

October 27, 2008

An excerpt from The Woman Warrior at 30″ by Jess Row:

…the most remarkable, and often overlooked, quality of The Woman Warrior is that it is a book without a genre. At various times it has been described as a memoir, an autobiography, a novel, a manifesto; yet anyone who spends 10 minutes with it understands that none of these labels really apply. Not because Kingston sets out to exaggerate the “facts” of her own experience, à la James Frey, but because she deliberately acknowledges that to write autobiography is to stand at the borderline between memory and invention. Like the “ghosts” in its subtitle (the word refers to the white Americans around whom Kingston grew up in Sacramento),The Woman Warrior stubbornly refuses to be either entirely fictive or entirely real. Perhaps the second most remarkable thing about the book is that in its wake, the American literary world still seems to regard the tissue-thin boundary between memoir and fiction as absolute and inviolable.

 

From the first two chapters of the novel,  The Woman Warrior, it is evident that the writing style of Kingston is peculiar. As stated above, “it has been described as a memoir, an autobiography, a novel, a manifesto.” Throughout the first two chapters, Kingston switches from telling readers about her own experience, making up stories, and speculating things. The writing sometimes is fictional but sometimes nonfictional. 

Despite the fact that the writing style changes throughout the first two chapters, Kingston successfully gets her messages across to her readers about the Chinese culture. For example, she tells the readers that girls are unwanted through her speculations in the first chapter and also through the description of the Chinese emigrants in America.  

In a way, though, this writing style makes it more confusing for readers to catch up and follow what goes on in the story; however, each and everyone of these writing styles are interesting. 

 

Woman Warrior

Woman Warrior

Post #14: Response to “44% of Korean Ivy League Students Quit Course Halfway”

October 27, 2008

“44% of Korean Ivy League Students Quit Course Halfway”

By: Park Si-soo

Forty-four percent of Korean students at top American universities give up their studies halfway through.

This data is contained in Samuel S. Kim’s doctoral dissertation “First and Second Generation Conflict in Education of the Asian American Community” delivered at Columbia University Friday. 

The drop out rate is much higher than 34 percent of American, 25 percent of Chinese and 21 percent of Indian students. 

The results come from tracking 1,400 Korean students registered at 14 top American universities – Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Amherst College, Duke, Georgetown, Brown, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania and Princeton – between 1985 and 2007. 

As of 2007, 62,392 Korean students were taking undergraduate or graduate courses in America schools, accounting for 10.7 percent of all foreign students in the country, said the Institute of International Education, a non-profit organization. 

By the numbers, it is the third largest following those from India and China, with populations more than 20 times that of Korea. 

For instance, Harvard University has 37 Korean undergraduates, the third largest behind Canada and Britain. Harvard, Yale and Princeton have a total of 103 Korean undergraduates between them. 

Kim said in the thesis that such a high dropout rate is largely attributable to Korean parents forcing their children to study rather than participate in extracurricular activities, an essential part of overseas education for foreign students to acclimate themselves to American society and get a good job in the long run. 

According to the thesis, Korean students consume 75 percent of their time available for studying, while they allocate only 25 percent to extracurricular activities such as community service. 

In contrast, American students and those from other countries tend to equally share their time for both study and other activities. 

He said the Korean mindset regarding education kept Korean students from moving into the American mainstream, citing statistics that of high-ranking officers at World’s top 500 enterprises selected by American business magazine Fortune, merely 0.3 percent are Korean, compared with Indians at 10 percent and Chinese with 5 percent. 

“I saw many Korean students in America isolated from the local community due to their study-concentrated way of life,” Kim said in an interview with The Korea Daily, a Korean-language newspaper published in the U.S. “They should abandon what they were familiar with in Korea to succeed in America.”

1. What does Kim say is the most likely explanation for the high dropout rate among Koreans?

Kim says that rigorous studying habits are the most likely explanation for the high dropout rates among Koreans. In the article, Kim states that the Korean culture, to which the Korean students are accustomed to, is focused too much on studying. He says that many Koreans drop out of college because they cannot adjust to the American way of life in which students spend half their time on extracurricular activities. 

2. How does the dropout rate among Koreans compare to the dropout rate among other groups?

The dropout rate among Koreans much higher than the dropout rate among other groups according to this article. Kim states that 44% of Korean students dropout while 34% of American students, 25 % of Chinese students, and 21% of Indian students drop out. 

3. What are you currently doing to increase your own college readiness? Is there anything you think you should do before you graduate from high school to be better prepared for university?

Currently, I am doing many things to increase my college readiness. I believe at college, students will spend time studying as well as playing. Right now, I try to divide the time I use to play and the time I use to study so that I will be prepared to play and work at the same time when I go to college. Not only this, but I am starting to depend less on school teachers to learn things. I think at college, professors will be too busy teaching to help me when I need help. To prepare for such situations, I try to study on my own and read the textbook or information from other sources if I do not understand what goes on in class. I also started talking to unfamiliar people because I believe that at college everyone will be new to me because of the big number of people there. Through this, I think I am preparing myself to make friends in an environment where I don’t know anyone. Last but not least, to increase my own college readiness I have went to a summer program at a college in the states. I believe that through this experience I realized what it would be like to be a college student and learned a bit more about what I would have to do at college.

I believe that before I graduate from high school I should start learning how to talk to my teachers to be better prepared for university. I think that at university the professors will be hard to approach so if I don’t start talking to my teachers who are easier to approach, I’ll never be able to talk to my professors when I need help.